My Social Emotional Learning

By Youcef Samaoui, 282; You’re burnt out. I’m on fire. 

In social emotional learning, I learned to be a human. It started with learning to meditate. Then, I learned to be mindful. I would close my eyes and hear everyone’s squirming guts. I would open my eyes and see everyone’s pores. I would see overgrown fingernails, rife with dirt. I would see my classmates being mindful. I would see some trying to force sleep. They would try it every time, and never succeed. I would learn to establish healthy boundaries, and how to not get gaslit ever again. I would learn to be a leader like George Washington, and to sometimes take long, calming showers. I would learn to take a self care day. I would learn to get that bag. I would learn to not get burnt out. I would learn to be social and emotional.

One thing no one could learn to do was sleep. We socially and emotionally learned a lot about sleep, and how it’s important for our social and emotional learning. We have always had to sleep. We have never been mindful. When we were practicing mindfulness, I would imagine being an adult in a couple months and being stuck in traffic. I imagined that I would never have to be mindful while driving, not mindful of anything. I would never have to be mindful of traffic lights, speed limits, school zones, and pedestrians. I would have to sleep though. And I imagined that I would sleep behind the wheel, and crash someplace hidden. I would be burnt out, but still alive. I would blame everything on mindfulness, taking away my time to sleep. 

At this point, I would be scanning everyone around me, evading the social emotional instructor, whose eyes were closed, and couldn’t see me staring into them, and at the fun shiny restaurant bell, they brought to close out mindfulness. I could still see everyone’s pores, and now I noticed nostril hair and sweat. The ceiling lights would flicker onto some crevice of my soul that slithers. It would hiss out and be trampled on by the good word of social emotional learning to be tame and whole again. 

I learned to avoid manipulators, and to seek therapy, because therapy is the repair tool store, like Home Depot, where you search and search, and eventually get screwed. I would learn to avoid toxicity. I don’t know how well everyone else applied these social emotional lessons, but I still cannot sleep because my dreams concern the dreams of others. And because my homework keeps me up until 11 PM each night, and I refuse to drink Red Bulls to keep me up in the morning, because Red Bull gives me headaches. The most important thing I learned was that self care is a luxury. It’s bath bombs, facial masks, and pilates, and you can’t do any of those when you sleep behind the wheel. So if you’re burnt out, just socially emotionally learn. Instead, learn to imagine yourself on fire. 

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